This is the ultimate guide on website malware removal
In this tutorial, I’ll manifest you:
- · Reasons of malware attacks
- · removal malware from websites
- · Why we should take proper measures
- · Many more
Let’s get ahead
What is a Malware?
Checking Your Malware
Website Malware Removal
Precautions needed for securing
Understanding beyond building the website
What is Malware in a Website?
Malware is the infected code/file if get uploaded or get access in a website may result in complete shutdown of your website, slowing down and improper functioning of websites.
How to know whether a website has malware?
- If a website page is displaying a complete white page, it means it is infected.
- Many wordpress plugins like Wordfence, VaultPress, iThemes Security, All in One WP Security & Firewall etc are available to check websites for malware.
- All hosting servers also email us about the malware attack , it generally get ignore by us. But it’s the simplest way to be aware of the infected files in our websites. You can authenticate your website in Google Search Console as they also email you after getting suspicious or any malware attack on your website.
- Website is loading slowly suddenly and you can check the speed of your website at Pagespeed Insights .
- Website started emailing on its own without any knowledge.
- Unusual popups are coming out of nowhere
- You are redirecting to other URLs without giving any command by you
What are the necessary precautions for protection against Website Malware attacks?
- Always put a strong password like”a1s2cg4b:_()“ for the admin panel login password. Weak passwords like”name1234″ or “birthday/anniversary dates” is easy for hackers to access backend of your websites and manipulate whatever they wish to. By putting a very strong password , hackers will be aware that it’s not a piece of cake to acess into this website and may proceed to other weak ones.
- Many contact forms or any forms in the whole website must be well protected through recaptcha, otherwise it’s a great access point for hackers to upload infected codes/files into your websites.
- Websites giving any file input like “file upload” should well merged with the specific extension like “pdf”,”doc”. They should select options of extensions they wish to , this options are easily available in plugins. As this will prevent hackers from uploading any files and this is the easiest way uploading any infected malware files in a website.
- Number of trial for right passwords should get limited to say 5-7 times as people may give wrong passwords sometimes. But if don’t mention the limited numbers of trials for admin passwords, hackers get the facility for unlimited no. of trials making it easy to hack websites.
- Always download good anti-malware plugins for further protection like wordfence, vaultpress etc for proper website malware removal.
- Update all your plugins and your wordpress to the latest version.
- Remove all unnecessary plugins and themes from the backend of your website.
- Authenticate a website in google Search Console as they will inform you timely precaution to be taken in case you are infected
How to fix hacked sites?
Step 1: How to take Back Up
- Backup the Site Files and Database for security
- If you are able to use the snapshot feature of the web host’s site, backup the full site. In your entire server, it will be a complete backup. However, it may take more time than expected to download because of its large size.
- If you can log in properly, it’s better to use a WordPress backup plugin. But if you can’t, then there’s a strong possibility that the database has been compromised by the hackers. And in that case, it is advised that you take help of any of the above mentioned professionals.
- Make a separate, additional backup of the database using these steps.
- If you can login, also use Tools > Export to export an XML file of all your content.
- Few of the sites may be very large and you may even find the uploads file of over 1GB size. As WP contains your total uploads, this content folder is the most important folder on your server. If your web host is not having a “snapshots” feature and you are also unable to run a backup plugin, then it’s better to make a zip archive of your wp content folder with the help of web host’s File Manager, ultimately downloading it safely.
- If you have multiple installs of WordPress on the server, you’ll want to back up each one.
Tip: .htaccess file: Download your .htaccess file, after making its backup. Since it’s an invisible file, it can only be seen in the web host’s File Manager if you opt to show invisibles after the File Manager is launched by you. To remove period at the start and before downloading it, renaming this file is suggested else it will be invisible on your computer too. If you wish to copy back its contents to your clean site, then backup of the .htaccess file might be required. To ensure the PHP version being used by you, some hosts use the .htaccess and some use 301 SEO redirects to enable it to work correctly. And in case the .htaccess file has been hacked, you will wish to have it examined later.
Step 2:Folders inside Backup Files
Download and Examine the Backup Files Download the backup to your computer, after backing up the site and then to open it double-click the zip file and you would see :
- All your WordPress Core files.
You may check out and match them with your own after downloading WordPress from WordPress.org. Perhaps you will want them later for hacking investigation, but presently you may not need them.
- The wp-config.php file.
This contains the all important name, username and your WordPress database password to be used later during the restoring process.
- .htaccess file.
As it will be invisible, viewing your back up folder using a FTP program (like FileZilla) or code editing application (like Brackets) is the only way of knowing if you backed this up. Thus, within the application’s interface, those invisible files can be viewed (remember to check the Show Hidden Files option).
- The wp-content folder.
Look in the three folders you would see in the wp content folder : themes, uploads & plugins. Did you notice your related images therein ? YES and it’s a good sign to confirm you have a good back up of your site. If you need to restore your site, in addition to database, typically this is the only mission-critical folder.
- The database.
As an export of your database, ensure having an SQL file. During this process,
having a good back up is highly advised though the database will not be deleted.
Step 3: Cleaning
- Delete each file in your public HTML folder with web host’s File Manager help (except the cgi-bin folder and any server related folders that are clearly free of hacked files) after a nice & thorough back up of your site is verified. Because it’s much faster to delete files I recommend File Manager than FTP, though SSH is also equally effective. Ensure that no compromised .htaccess file is left undeleted after viewing the invisible files.
- Since cross infection is common, all other sites being hosted by you on the same account can be assumed to have compromised. So do clean your each & every site. After backing up and downloading your all sites, do the following steps for every site. Ensure all your backups are complete. DO NOT treat this exercise in a leisurely way and do not clean one site after another. Who knows during the time you cleaned one has been re-infected by the one which is still infected. It’s as simple as that we have to tackle this problem on a war footing and with utmost care.
Step 4: Final Stage : Malware Free Website
- If this was the original location of the WordPress install or if WordPress was installed in an add-on domain in the sub-directory, use the one-click installer in your web hosting control panel to reinstall WordPress in the public html directory.
- Returning to the backup of your site, to use the database credentials from your former site, edit the wp-config.php file on the new install of WordPress. Thus, the new WordPress installation will be connected to the old database. As the new one will have new login encryption salts and will definitely be free from any hacked code, re-uploading your old wp-config.php file is not recommended at all.
- Many times after gong through all the labour of finding the malware is in vain, you my approach website’s hosting server through support ticket and ask them to check and remove malware from hoting server. Thet will remove if there would be any infected file and ask them to update your cpanel password also for extra security to not get attacked easily in future.
Aditya Agarwal, CEO of Qilinlab
Explains Website Malware Causes & Website Malware Removal
What to see beyond a website designing & the concept of website malware removal
What people generally belief investing a lumpsum money on building a website is all they have to do. But with increasing onlinee demand and online money transactions , it’s becomes a target for hackers to attack websites.
Building a website and securing it are two different aspects of the same thing. People get harass if any mishappening occur to their website and they blame developers for it. Malware attack is not the fault of developers as it may happen to any websites. What is most needed is securing it by expert agencies or we can take basic precaution as mentioned above to prevent maximum possibility of the infected files to get uploaded in the first place.
If hackers succeeds in accessing files and databases, they would like to hold access to your website as long as they can. It is like an uninvited guest at a wedding getting all the pleasures and entertainment for free by disguising themselves in middle of crowds. Similarly, there are unlimited files and they release their code amongst it ,so its easy for them to hide in core files of the websites. Locating malware infected files takes time and thereafter removing them is another task.
Hackers can also create a “backdoor” which allows them to gain access to the files and comprised systems even if your website gets fully cleaned.
In a large majority of hacked sites, attackers often plant and place something called a backdoor. These backdoors allow them to continue accessing compromised systems, even if the original infection gets cleaned. The backdoor is placed and hidden somewhere inconspicuous to allow the hacker to bypass the normal authentication process.
Backdoors are tricky to remove as they might create more than one backdoor inside file system. So, its better to prevent them from planted in your file system as the first priority.Use firewall, strong complex passwords and strict security at all access points.
Overall, one must be aware of how to remove malicious links/codes/worms on different forms from website.
People get annoyed with websites all the time because of various reasons like selection of wordpress themes among many available in the market, time consumption while building up it and the small problems arises while making it. Overall, making itself is a big task and if any sort of malware attack their website, its troublesome. Therefore, an expert’s support dealing in website malware removal is required.You have to put extra effort contacting malware removal experts to secure your websiite from outsider attacks.
There are so many reasons and sources to access your website and infect it so its better to get it filtered and secured it by some trusted companies who already had shown success in these areas
You can ask us any question regarding removal of malware from wordpress websites below in the comment section.We are eager to help you.